STARKVILLE, Miss. – Facing one of the best teams in the nation, the Diamond Dawgs rallied and erased a 5-0 deficit to beat No. 3 Arkansas 6-5 Friday night in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Dudy Noble Field.
The win is extra sweet because it comes in a Super Bulldog Weekend and in front of 7,303 fans. The game also marks the first Super Bulldog Weekend game played at the new stadium.
With the win, the Diamond Dawgs improved to 20-19 (6-10 SEC), while the Razorbacks fell to 28-11 (10-6 SEC).
Arkansas took s 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning after Eric Cole hit a grand slam.
The game would remain 4-0 until the fifth inning when Dominic Fletcher hit a sac-fly to score Heston Kjerstad and push the Razorback lead to 5-0.
State’s comeback began in the top of the sixth inning. Rowdey Jordan started the comeback with a bunt single. Jake Mangum then drew a walk. Luke Alexander followed with a three-run home run to left center to make it a 5-3 ballgame.
The Diamond Dawg comeback continued in the eighth inning. Jake Mangum and Luke Alexander drew back-to-back walks to start the inning. Tanner Allen then moved Mangum over to third base on a sac-bunt. After Hunter Stovall struck out, Jordan Westburg hit a game-tying two-run single, which scored Alexander and Mangum. Elijah MacNamee then hit a single, which brought home Westburg and represented the game-winning run.
Arkansas held the hits advantage, out-hitting MSU 9-7. Jordan finished with two of MSU’s seven hits.
MSU starting pitcher Konnor Pilkington pitched five innings. He allowed five runs, four of which were earned, on nine hits. He struck out three batters and walked three.
JP France (2-1) came in relief and was perfect in four innings of work. He fanned nine of the 12 batters he faced and walked none.
Matt Cronin is charged with the Razorbacks loss. He gave up three earned runs over two innings, but only gave up one hit. He struck out five batters and walked three.
Originally scheduled to play one game today and one game Sunday, Mississippi State and Arkansas have shifted the series schedule due to the strong possibility of thunderstorms. The series will now conclude today with a doubleheader beginning at noon CT at Dudy Noble Field. The second game of the doubleheader will begin 45 minutes following the conclusion of the day’s first game.